Nothing restores my mind, body and soul quite like a trip to the beach. There’s generally no other place I’d rather be. I have fond memories of growing up in Southern Italy and spending time at the beach with my family. Never having learned to swim properly, my dad would dig very large holes in the sand, the size of a small bath tub really, and fill them with seawater for me to “swim” around in. As I got older, I’d venture in the water more, but never too far out that I couldn’t touch the bottom. On some adventures days, my dad would take me further out into the vast ocean by lying on his back as he swam out. Those were by far the bestest of days, though few and far between.
Since the others in my family weren’t really fans of the beach (the salty water! the scorching sun! and the sand, so much sand!) our visits were generally prefaced with my begging to go, pleading really, to just make a few prosciutto sandwiches and stay just a wee bit longer than we had the time before. But despite living in Southern Italy and just a few minutes away from the best beaches, we rarely spent long hours there, or at least, it never felt as such to me. Out of the four of us, I was always the one that loved the beach the most. My mom would always complain about the heat, my dad would get bored within an hour and my sister, well, my sister would be hiding under the beach umbrella, away from the water, sun, sand and anything ‘beach like’ and likely pretending to be anywhere else other than where we were.
Now, so many years later, those memories feel less real and more like clips of movies I saw on TV at some point. During the long, dreary winter months of Boston, my mind sometimes slips back to those days, and I ask myself, did those days really happen? I curse time, for passing so quickly, and the aging process for making recalling such beautiful days so difficult! It’s ironic that I actually took swimming lessons in adulthood, now that I’m about 4500 miles away from the beaches I loved and still love so much! Now, I cherish the summers when I am able to return to Italy. To swim in the same waters I did some 30 years ago. I’m immediately brought back to when I was young, when the only thing I’d question was whether we’d stop and grab a gelato on the way home! Though truth be told, to this day, a post-beach trip to the gelateria is a must!
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